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All about Innovation: Venturefest returns

North West’s biggest annual innovation event returns to Manchester on Thursday 13 September. Businesses are urged to enter the Innovation Showcase Competition, following £4million worth of funding offers for 2017 entrants.

If you run a company in the North West of England and innovative ideas are at the heart of it, Venturefest North West 2018 is the place for you. And if they’re not, it’s a great place to start.

The region’s biggest annual innovation event comes to Manchester Central on Thursday 13 September, providing a unique networking platform for companies.

Chris Greenhalgh, head of innovation and programme development at GC Business Growth Hub, said: “Venturefest North West is the ideal opportunity for entrepreneurs to meet like-minded business leaders and experts, showcase their latest products and services, and meet funders who can invest in their innovative ideas.”

Promising inspirational speakers and interactive workshops, the event is in its fifth year - having previously been known as Venturefest Manchester - and 2018 is set to be the biggest yet with an expanded regional focus.

One of the centrepieces is the Innovation Showcase Competition, open to start-up and young companies, as well as established businesses, with online entries open now.

Ten finalists will have the chance to pitch their business idea to an audience of potential investors and win a package of support provided by the partners of the Hub. And for the first time, there are four new categories to enter: Product Innovation, Service Innovation, Digital Innovation and Innovative Established Business.

One of last year’s winners was Manchester-based Beatstream Media, which has developed a live music streaming mobile app and counts former Inspiral Carpets keyboardist and DJ Clint Boon as its Director of Music.

Co-founder Helen Fish said: "Venturefest gave us a platform to showcase the business we believe in and are so passionate about. Winning the competition was instrumental in our successful raising of investment, and the support of GC Business Growth Hub has been integral to our growth leading to our very exciting upcoming launch.”

Chris Greenhalgh added: “We strongly encourage the businesses to enter the Innovation Showcase Competition. We have helped last year’s 90 entrants to secure over £4 million-worth of funding offers in total, eclipsing the £1 million-worth of funding support we helped the competition entrants to secure in 2016.”

Businesses that don’t consider themselves innovative shouldn’t be put off attending Venturefest, he explains: “Innovation has a far broader meaning than people sometimes think: it’s not just about ground-breaking technology - businesses innovate in many different ways, developing new services, implementing processes and launching new business models to meet changing market needs. Venturefest is somewhere that can provide that important spark of inspiration or new contact that will make a real difference to your business.”

Keep your eyes peeled on venturefestnorthwest.com for further announcements.

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